The Fifth arrondissement is home to one of the most famous monuments in Paris: the Panthéon. Located on the Left bank of River Seine, it is known as the Latin Quarter. The 5th arrt. is one of Paris’ oldest districts and visitors like it for its lively atmosphere.
A few words about the 5th arrondissement
Why part of the 5th arrondissement is called Latin Quarter?
The Latin Quarter takes its name from the Middle Ages when Latin was the language of learning at the Sorbonne.
It is considered as Paris’ oldest district, along with Île de la Cité.
Indeed, remains from the Roman era are still visible today. Check out for:
- the Gallo-Roman baths of Cluny
- the remains of the Roman Forum (to discover in the stairs leading to an underground carpark!), and more dramatically,
- the Arena of Lutetia
The Latin Quarter is a district centred around the Sorbonne. It is home to many universities, colleges, and prestigious high schools. The district has a reputation for being a young lively atmosphere.
It is also remembered as being a major site for the events of May 1968. The student revolt led to a political, social, and cultural protest with barricades set up. And torn-up paving stones used as missiles!
The 5th arrondissement: facts and figures
The 5th arrondissement of Paris covers an area of 2.541 km2 with a population of 60,800 (2011). The district is overlooked by the dome of the Panthéon. The monument sits at the top of an elevated mount called Montagne Sainte-Geneviève (alt. 61 m above sea level).
The Latin Quarter is home to prestigious and historic universities and colleges: the Sorbonne university, the Jussieu university campus, Lycée Henri IV and the medieval Clovis Tower, Ecole Nationale Supérieure…
A number of historic streets criss-cross the district. For example, Rue Saint-Jacques, Paris’ oldest street. Rue Mouffetard boasts a colourful and lively market.
Where to stay in the 5th arrondissement?
Hotels in Paris vary from stunning luxurious places like the Ritz and the Meurice to much simpler hotels in charming older parts of the city. However, due to its central location, you will find the level of prices of all types of accommodation quite high in the 5th arrt. Depending on your budget, might want to find cheaper accommodation further away from the hyper centre of Paris!
Here is a map showing the nearest accommodation:
Public institutions and organisations in the 5th arrt
A few public institutions and organisations have their seat in the 5th arrt:
- the Sorbonne university (founded in the mid-12th century. This is one of the oldest universities in Europe)
- the Ministère de l’Éducation Nationale et de la Recherche (Ministry of Higher Education and Research)
- the Val de Grâce (major military hospital)
Main places of interest in the 5th arrondissement
The 5th arrondissement includes one of Paris’ most famous monument: the Panthéon. There are many other places of interest to be discovered. Most of them are situated on the slopes of the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève and near the banks of the River Seine.
The main places of interest in the 5th arrondissement are:
- the Panthéon >> Get your Priority Entrance Ticket! <<
- the Banks of River Seine from Pont de Sully to Place Saint-Michel
- the Arena of Lutetia (Roman ruins)
- the Jardin des Plantes
- the Paris Mosque and its minaret
- the Institut du Monde Arabe (Arab World Institute)
- the picturesque street of Rue Mouffetard
- the dome of the Val de Grâce church
- the College of Bernardins with its Gothic hall
- the place Saint-Michel and its monumental fountain
- the side-streets of boulevard Saint-Michel: rue Saint-Séverin, rue de la Huchette, rue du Chat qui Pêche (the fishing cat), rue de la Harpe (one of Paris’ narrowest streets).
- the rue Saint-Jacques, Paris’ oldest street.
Museums in the 5th arrt.
- the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturel and the Grand Gallery of Evolution >> Get your Priority Entrance Ticket! <<
- the Ménagerie (France’s oldest zoo) >> Get your Priority Entrance Ticket! <<
- the Police Museum (free entrance)
- the Thermes and Hôtel de Cluny (National Museum of the Middle-Ages). Note that the museum is undergoing restoration. Therefore the complex is partially opened. Until the end of renovation works (Spring 2021), you have restricted access to the frigidarium, the Gallo-Roman baths (guided tours only), the Lady and the Unicorn tapestry, a selection of treasuries (70 items) and temporary exhibitions. More info…
Historic churches in the 5th arrt.
The district also includes a number of historic churches:
- Saint Séverin-Saint Nicolas church (13th-14th centuries) – Flamboyant Gothic. Look for the pillar in the shape of a palm tree in the ambulatory!
- Saint-Julien le Pauvre church (early 13th century) – Romanesque and early Gothic. This is one of the oldest churches in Paris.
- Saint-Étienne-du-Mont church (15th-17th centuries) – Flamboyant Gothic and Renaissance. The church is the only one in Paris which has kept is rood screen.
- Saint-Jacques du Haut-Pas church (16th-17th centuries) – Neo-Classical
- Saint-Médard church (15th-18th centuries) – Flamboyant Gothic
- Saint-Nicolas du Chardonnet church (17th-18th centuries) – Neo-Classical
Shopping recommendation in the 5th arrt.
The 5th arrondissement isn’t maybe the most exciting shopping district of Paris.
That said, you can expect to see a number of bookstores as it’s an area full of students, and you’ll also find lots of typical cafés.
Here are a few addresses I spotted/visited when strolling in ‘le Quartier Latin’:
👉 If you’re interested in books, head to Place Saint-Michel where Gibert Jeune has a few stores organised by themes/specialities. And for older books and prints, remember the bouquinistes are very close by – on the banks of the River Seine.
👉 Don’t miss the picturesque and colourful market of Rue Mouffetard. The lively street happens to be a shopping one with great food stores (bakery, butcher, caterer…)
👉 Boulevard Saint-Michel and Boulevard Saint-Germain are the busiest streets of the 5th arrondissement with many cafés, restaurants and shops.
☕️ You’ve probably heard of Shakespeare & Co, Paris’ oldest bookstore. Did you know the vintage institution opened its own coffee shop? Sit outside and enjoy the view of the towers of Notre-Dame Cathedral (37 Rue de la Bûcherie).
🥖 According to the 2019 competition for the Paris’ best baguette, the best boulangerie is in the 5th arrondissement called Paris & Co Écoles, 4 bis rue des Écoles.
🛌 Looking for a place to stay? Click here for an exhaustive list in the 5th arrondissement of Paris.
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